Today I’m talking about something that’s uncomfortable to talk about, and maybe even read about for some people. It’s time to address a very important question. Does seeking help for your mental health make you weak?
**Before we begin I need you to know that I am not a mental health professional. I can only share my experience. You should always contact your doctor to discuss ways you can manage your depression. If you, or someone you know, are in an emergency situation call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to get the help and resources you need. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. These hotlines are open 24/7 so contact them anytime you need it.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was alone in my dorm room talking to my mom. She could tell something was up. Eventually, I blurted out the words “I think I need to see someone.” We chatted about it for a little bit. Then once we hung up I found myself at my school’s counseling website requesting an appointment.
That first appointment I was terrified. I wasn’t comfortable with letting someone into all my pain. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay closed up in that first session, or blurt everything out all at once not making any sense. That decision to go to the appointment was the best choice I have ever made for myself. I left that room emotionally exhausted but I felt so much lighter at the same time. I knew I had a lot to work through, but for the first time, I felt like things would get better. So I guess by now you can guess what my answer to the question above is. No seeking help for your mental health isn’t weak. It actually makes you stronger.
Why am I sharing this?
My story is important to share because therapy gets a bad rep. I should know, I was one of the people that believed in it all. If I can share my story I can help end the mental health stigma. I’m going to do this by sharing with you common objections about seeking help. I had all of these objections and I proved them all wrong. I hope that by reading this you will have a better understanding of how beneficial therapy is, whether it’s for you or for you to share with someone else.
Objections To Seeking Help For Your Mental Health, and why they are wrong
- “I’m fine, I can get through this on my own” – I think this comes from a place of pride. We don’t want to admit we aren’t okay. However, I have learned that it’s okay to not be okay. We shouldn’t be ashamed of this.
- “People will know and treat me differently/ make fun of me” – This one has a simple fix. You don’t have to tell them right away, well unless you 100% have to. For the longest time the only person that knew I was going to counseling every week was my mom, and maybe my roommate. I told people when I was ready to unless it was something I needed to tell. When you do tell people, don’t worry about their opinions. You are doing what is best for your health. They will get over their pettiness and realize that at some point.
- “I don’t have a mental illness so I don’t need help” – I didn’t know this at the time, but you don’t have to go to counseling for just mental health, whether you are not sure you have it or not. Counselors can help you make sense of your life when you are going through a transition or rough time as well.
- “I’m too scared to go” – I get this. I was scared at first as well. I had no one to tell me how the experience would go down. Some things in life you’ve just got to force yourself to not let your mind talk you out of it.
- “I can’t afford it” – This is a tough one because I’m definitely not in a position where I could see a therapist, especially in college. Thankfully my college offered free counseling services. Now that I’m out of college, when I was ready to go back to therapy, I needed to find a low-cost option. I wasn’t sure these existed but I found a few free, or sliding scale, places that I could check out. My advice would be to check churches in your area first. Then, if you have no luck there, call around to local therapists to see if they have low-income options. Psychology Today has a great resource for finding therapists in your area.
So you see, there really is no excuse for viewing seeking help for your mental health as a bad thing. When it comes down to it, think of it like this. If you were physically sick you would go to the doctor to get better. No one would question you. In fact, they would most likely encourage you to go. We as a society need to treat mental health with this respect. Stop shaming people for seeking help, and stop preventing yourself from seeking help. It is not weak to seek help! Seeking help for your mental health is one of the strongest, best things you can do for yourself.